The Data Society research programme aims to advance the studies of digitalisation and datafication as pivotal change agents. We seek not only to understand these change agents but also to apply this understanding to effect positive social change. The programme focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development.

There are advantages and huge potential but also possible harm and great challenges with digitalisation and datafication: the program researchers tackle the complex issues of our data society

Maria Engberg, Director

Our research

Digital technologies are increasingly present in everyday life, forming part of the way we live and experience the world. The need to understand digitalisation and datafication in ways that are not uniquely through a technological lens is growing.

The Data Society program consolidates and develops research that addresses the societal challenge of digitalisation across society. It is an interdisciplinary program that comprises researchers from social sciences, humanities and technology, as well as the arts and design.

We critically and constructively engage in and advance research on aspects of digitalisation and datafication, today and for the future. We engage in multidisciplinary studies that investigate how these processes play out in people’s everyday lives, in communities, and in private and public organisations and institutions, with an initial focus on digital culture, datafied health and digital civics.

Our research questions include:

How do processes of digitalisation appear and operate at different societal levels, causing different and sometimes conflicting expectations and experiences?

What digital methods can be developed to open up new fields of study and develop deeper understanding of how digital technologies operate to structure the world around them?

In what ways can our research build on as well as challenge existing solution-driven practices to how we create a sustainable digitalised society?

Our objectives:

  • construct a cross-disciplinary theoretical trajectory that moves beyond disciplinary boundaries;
  • advance and develop methodologies that bridge social sciences, humanities, and technological sciences; and
  • explore and develop new forms of practice-based research and contact zones for collaboration.

Researchers, publications and projects

Data Society is an interdisciplinary programme that comprises researchers from a wide range of academic fields within social science, humanities, technology and the arts and design.

Research projects

Our projects address wide-ranging questions that cannot be addressed within one discipline or with one set of methodological approaches. Some of Data Society's research is conducted by teams or individual researchers within the faculty financed research time. These are our current projects with external financing.

The Data Society Fellowship Program

The Data Society fellowship program is a short-stay guest research program. We have two kinds of fellowships: one junior and one senior fellowship. We expect our fellows to stay 2-4 weeks; however, other arrangements can be made depending on the proposed activities.

A senior fellow has a few years of experience in research and often holds a more senior position (in academia, this would probably most likely be an Associate Professor/Reader and up). You may also be a professional who works outside of academia (e.g. at a company, public authority or as an independent researcher or practitioner in a field relevant to DS research).

A junior fellow is likely a PhD student, a recent PhD or someone otherwise at the beginning of their research career, or a junior professional working outside academia with relevant Data Society research.


The Data Society Research program at Malmö University was established in 2019, as part of a larger effort to consolidate strong research at the university. Data Society research program focuses on advancing the field of digitalization studies, broadly defined. The program aims to advance critical studies of digitalisation and datafication as pivotal change agents. The program’s researchers work on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development.

Your contribution

Guest researchers will be asked to contribute to one or more of the following program activities depending on their proposed program and the length of their stay:

  • Conduct their proposed activities, and share the work in an appropriate way (seminar, workshop, installation, event, publications)
  • Collaborate on a research project with program researchers
  • Co-organize and/or participate in Data Society seminars, workshops, or conferences.
  • Initiate projects or prepare research applications with program researchers
  • Academic writing, single-authored or co-authored with a program researcher. All fellowship publications must be listed in Malmö University’s institutional repository for publications (DIVA) as a Data Society-affiliated publication.

All fellows will be asked to host or be part of at least one public Data Society event during their stay and to write a brief public report about their stay within one month of departure.

Program objectives

  • To actively contribute to the research environment in the Data Society research program.
  • To enable research staff and doctoral students at the department to work with leading academics and professionals from Sweden or elsewhere.
  • To give fellows an opportunity to collaborate in joint research with program researchers
  • To develop and promote links with other institutions, companies, and organizations in Sweden and abroad.

What we offer

We offer a stipend, travel costs (details will be discussed if you are offered a fellowship), and accommodation during the stay in Malmö. Unless otherwise agreed, the fellowship is not remote/virtual. The fellow is expected to come to Malmö, Sweden.

We do not cover salary.

You can apply for additional funding to support project costs in the application.

You may suggest your own dates for the visit. Activities can start at the earliest two weeks after you have been accepted to the fellowship.  Please note that we cannot accommodate researchers during the summer, June 20-August 20 unless otherwise agreed.

How to apply

You should get in touch with one of the Data Society-affiliated researchers before you apply, in order to ensure that your project fits the Data Society research directions or research agenda of affiliated projects. Email Maria Engberg for details on the application process.

Previous seminars and events